Facility grant uneasiness

The Minot City Council this week gave final approval to funding for eight projects totaling more than $4.4 million.

The money will come from the city’s community facilities fund, which receives a portion of the 1 percent city sales tax formerly designated for the Northwest Area Water Supply project.

The money will be given to Bishop Ryan High School ($275,000), Minot Commission on Aging ($400,000), Minot Family YMCA ($193,585), North Dakota State Fair Association and Minot Curling Club ($275,000), Minot Park District ($2.3 million), and Minot State University ($1 million).

We know we aren’t the only ones concerned over the council’s seemingly ever-broadening definition of “community facility,” and subsequent contribution of public tax money to private organizations. We know the groups all made presentations on how their project or facility met the definition of a “community facility,” but our uneasiness hasn’t subsided. We’re not questioning the good intentions of all of the projects. Rather, we continue to wonder how Minot Ryan improving its gymnasium, MSU improving Herb Parker Stadium or the Minot Curling Club replacing an ice rink floor and cooling pipes, for example, qualify as community facilities.

The answer, of course, depends on who you ask. The disagreement over what is a community facility won’t go away as long as there is available tax money. We hope members of the city council fully understand what lies ahead of them in regards to providing money for “community facilities.”